Belen, 1500-2000: Sociocultural Adaptation and Network evolution


 Local organization Ayuntamiento

Kinship groups and Status

Ritual Kin: Padrinazgos and Compadrazgos

Political level

Network evolution

1525 Pre-hispanic State

Stratified villages: Nobles and Commoners

Ranked ambilineages; Estates, renters, vassals, commoner owners


Lords, Nobles, Commoners

Status endogamy segregates marriages of Nobles; Pop. 300,000

1525-1540 Conversion

Franciscans enforce conversions thru rotating visits

Manumission of Indian-to-Indian slavery

Spanish-to-Tlaxcalan Nobles: Vertical Padrinazgo - Baptism

Conversion of Nobles and Church building

Padrinazgo and high status marriage with Spanish; PLAGUE

1540-1575 Noble Rule (Prosperity)

Nobles in civil offices, commoners in lower religious offices

Sons of Nobles turned over to Friars for Schooling

Padrinazgos spread to Commoners: Baptism and Marriage (done in groups)

Franciscans rotate visits town to town rather than resident priests

Polygyny phased out among Nobility, who rapidly assimilate

1575-1640 Mayordomos; era of decline

Religious Mayordomo sponsorships, increasing autonomy

End of syncretic period; revitalization of indigenous practices begins as Govt abolished

Padrinazgo, including Sponsorship at Death, operates separately from Mayordomos

Pressure of land sales to Spanish resisted, but Government arrested for nonpayment of taxes

80% population decline thru PLAGUES, loss of network integration

1640-1700 Egalitarian Shift; Major Reconsolidation

Autonomous Ladder System of Cargos; Cmnts self-regulatory; Becomes Egalitarian

Noble groups and class withdraw from rural villages; Village Alcaldes distinct from Nobility

Prehispanic elements restored: Limpia, Evangelios, Fruta Cuata

Expulsion of Franciscans but "Free Indian Land" region resists sales and Hacienda system

Kinship, marriage and Padrinazgo ties reconsolidate egalitarian social class at local level

1700-1750 Communitarian and Horizontal Ties

New "Sponsorships" of Community level rituals

Less administration of marriage rites by priests; Commoner extd family more important

Transforms to Horizontal Compadrazgos; addition of Communal Sponsorshps 

Secular priests lax in their visits of villages

Invention of new compadrazgo ties and sponsorships of ritual community events

1750-1810 Intervillage Compadrazgo Linkage

Intervillage compadrazgos become a means of coordinating intervillage ritual life in the Ayuntamientos

Corporate functions of ambilineages lost; bilateral kinship, youngest son inherits house

Compadrazgo extended between communities Objects as mediating entities: House, Fields, Manger, Cross

Indians marginalized; caste system developing, land and labor exploitation increasing

Densification of ties with concomitant spatial extension

1810-1880 Differentiation

Differentiation of communities depending on land loss and wage labor

Individuation; rise in age of marriage

Some secular "life cycle" forms added: otherwise little change

Independence and Statehood; some textile factories; derrogatory attitudes towards Tlax.


Adaptation of forms

1880-1940 National Integration

Intervillage coordination grows in importance

Dramatic rise in religious marriages from 15% to 80%

Secularization; "Social" compadrazgos introduced (maximum elaboration)

Growth of Tlaxcalan textile industry and Factory wage labor; Mestizoization


Adaptation of forms

1940-1980 Industrialization

Less prescription to communal sponsorships

Adherence to "traditional customs" strongly supports continuance of extended family values

Prescriptive content of compadrazgo gives way to individual choices; but new "Material Goods" forms of Compadrazgo

Rapid acculturative changes and new industrial wage migration in Tlaxcala-Puebla valley


Adaptation of forms

1980-2000 Factionalization



Secret ballot elections mandated by the State with resultant party factionalism